Maryland-West Virginia recap: Shell-shocked
By Rick Nelligan
I wasn’t aware that I needed to put ‘snap the ball on time and have at least one guy within 15 yards of their best receiver’ in my keys to the game. But I guess you live and you learn, right?” Those were the exact words of my text to my friend Eddie right after West Virginia receiver Tavon Austin caught a touchdown pass to make the score 14-0. The Terps were completely shell-shocked by West Virginia’s speed on offense and aggressiveness on defense in the first half. On the fourth play of the game Noel Devine broke off a 50-yard run, setting the tone for what you just knew was going to be a long day. It was a half plagued by ridiculous penalties and terrible blocking on offense and poor tackling and overall awareness on defense. The only reason we weren’t down by at least 35 at halftime was because of two crucial West Virginia turnovers in Maryland territory. To top it all off, promising second-string quarterback Danny O’Brien got annihilated by back-up defensive end Bruce Irvin to end the first half.
The second half was a different story, thanks to Torrey Smith. He caught only three passes, but two were for touchdowns of 60 and 80 yards. Just three touches for arguably our number one offensive weapon is unacceptable. Our defense also began to step up to the challenge in the second half, only allowing 133 yards and one touchdown. The lone touchdown was set up by a huge punt return to the Maryland 8-yard line. The key was slowing down Noel Devine, who after the 50-yard dash in the first quarter, was held to 81 yards on 26 carries. A lot of our comeback can be attributed to West Virginia taking their foot off the gas, but the Terps fought hard and clawed their way back to 28-17 early in the fourth quarter before ultimately losing 31-17.
In the end, it was our offensive line that became our Achilles heel. Our running backs were only able to gain 36 yards on 13 carries, and as a team we ran the ball for -10 yards on 27 carries. And our quarterbacks were sacked eight times! That's he most in the Friedgen era, and a few came when West Virginia was only rushing three players! If the Terps are going to have any chance to make it back to a bowl game this year, they must fix the issues up front, and fix them fast. Luckily, we have Florida International and Duke coming up over the next two weeks, two teams no one would mistake for powerhouses. But if we don’t clean up our play in the trenches… Well, you remember our record from last year.
Box Seats blogger
| September 19, 2010; 8:38 AM ET
Categories: Rick Nelligan, Terps | Tags: Maryland-West Virginia
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